SolveYourProblem Article Series: Stress, Anxiety & Panic
How Do I Eliminate The Tension From My Life?

What is a Panic Attack Disorder?

If you have panic attacks more than once or twice in your lifetime, even frequently, then it is possible that you may have panic attacks disorder. Panic attacks disorder is a form of chronic anxiety disorder, a sudden moment of intense fear that can last 5 to 20 minutes or greater which causes severe physical reactions including shortness of breath and heart palpitations. For those who suffer panic attacks disorder it can be very frightening at the moment. The feeling is that of losing control, feeling like you are having a heart attack; or even feeling like dying.

Panic attacks disorder is a medical condition that can be treated by psychotherapy, relaxation techniques, or medications. Treatment is necessary because panic attacks disorder can affect your quality of life. Anything that causes discord or strife is unnatural and unnecessary and persons suffering should seek help to overcome this disorder.

Sometimes the reason for a panic attack has merit, or sometimes the onset of a panic attack can occur for a small reason or for no real reason at all. Factors that may play a part in the causes of panic attacks disorder are: genetics, stress, changes in the manner in which parts of your brain function. Certain situations can cause stress, such as, fear about your health, money problems, relationship problems, fear about crime or disasters, fear that you are in danger, loneliness, depression, grief, anxiety from worry, etc.

Some researchers conclude that panic attacks develop out of the body’s inborn flight-or-fight response to danger. If a lion attacked you in a jungle, then your body would react according to your survival instinct. When confronted with a life-threatening situation, your breathing and heart rate would speed up, to get you ready to take action for survival. However, when there is no obvious or real danger present (only a perceived danger), then it is unclear why a panic attack occurs under this condition. Panic attacks disorder occurs when you feel that you are in danger, whether or not there is real danger.

Those who have panic attacks disorder are more likely to have had one or more of the following problems:

  1. The death or critical illness of a family member or loved one;
  2. An amount of stress greater than what is common for most people in life;
  3. A family history of panic attacks disorder;
  4. Considerable changes in your life, such as, career change, divorce, addition of a baby, etc.;
  5. Exposure to a traumatic event, such as a car accident, an earthquake, a robbery, a crime;
  6. A history of childhood physical abuse or incest;
  7. Severe economic or health problems.

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